UBA Sign $6bn MoU With AfCFTA To Fund SMEs

By Clement Alphonsus
Click for Full Image Size

United Bank for Africa, one of Nigeria’s Tier One Lenders, has disclosed a signed $6bn Memorandum of Understanding with the African Continental Free Trade Area secretariat targeted towards funding Small and Medium Enterprises to help them tap the opportunities presented by the AfCFTA.

This was disclosed by the Head of SME Banking at UBA, Babatunde Ajayi at the Nigerian Canadian Business Association Business 2023 Roundtable which was held in Lagos.

The theme was “Enabling Growth by Unlocking Access to Capital, Technology, And Markets.”

While speaking during a panel session, Ajayi noted that intra-African trade still remained below 20 per cent while other continents have continued to post better numbers.

According to him, “I’m the one driving the newly signed $6bn in partnership with the AfCFTA to fund SMEs across Africa. We are focusing on four sectors – Agro-processing, Automotive, Pharmaceuticals and Transport and Logistics.

“Across Africa, what we found are that these sectors have the highest potential for import substitution and those are the sectors we can easily make huge gains within Africa.”

Similarly, the Director of Trade Promotion at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sunny Omeiza noted that energy, access to finance and multiple taxation have continued to constitute an albatross for SMEs.

In her welcome address, the Chairperson of the NCBA, Ebi Obaro explained that the three pillars of access to capital, technology, and markets provide essential guidance for SMEs navigating the intricacies of the global economy.

"Technology is drastically changing the future of business and holds a lot of potential for small and medium-sized enterprises. Our goal is to explore the many ways in which we can harness technology to improve efficiency and productivity in businesses in both Nigeria and Canada," she said.